I've been cycled off my library system's Youth Service Committee for a year or two. This means that this year I will have a bit more time to read more books of my choice since I won't have a Mock Newbery or a Mock Printz list to read for officially.In the past two months or so, I've used this extra time to hunt up some new series, authors, and to catch up on some I found while working on adult book lists for our BCCLS Visor site. In that time, I've also neglected to post any blogs about books (or anything else).
This will be the first of a series of posts about some of the new authors, series, and books I've read.I tend to read mostly science fiction, fantasy, horror, and romance for my own light reading, but recently I've found my way back to mysteries. In part, this is thanks to series like Vampire Files, Dresden, and even Anita Blake. While I picked them up for their humor, monsters, or fantasy aspects, I was reminded of how much I enjoy a good mystery. Here are some of my discoveries which are new or at least new to me.
Goldy Culinary Mysteries by Diane Mott Davidson
This actually was a series I was catching up on. I first read Davidson a few years ago when I saw drawn in by the title Dying for Chocolate and the awesome cover art on the paperback. If you haven't seen it, her covers often look like yummy food at first glance, then you look again and see the dead body shaped cookie cutter, or skull in the dripping sauce. Reading Sweet Revenge was like catching up with old friends. Goldy's now married to a detective she'd met while solving some previous murders and her son is now well into his teen years plus this mystery starts with a murder in the library. I give Davidson huge kudos for actually advancing her character's stories. Often in mystery series especially, the life of the main sleuth doesn't change much, after all an author might hesitate to have the sleuth get married because some romantic tension would be lost or have a child because said child must age and what was cute and comic relief in a 9 or 10 yr old is just bratty or silly in a 14 or 15 yr old. I do start to wonder why everyone is still so shocked at murders though after all they seem to happen so often. As always the mystery is served up with a set of recipes for the not so beginner chiefs. I'd recommend these mysteries for the cold winter days when you want to curl up in your window seat or for a lazy read on the beach, but be prepared to get hungry just from reading her descriptions of food!
Sophie Metropolis Mysteries by Tori Carrington
I picked up Dirty Laundry and fell in love with Sophie Metropolis' voice. Sophie is a Greek-America from Queens who works for her Uncle as a private investigator, much to the embarrassment of her mother. While working on some mundane cases for her uncle, Sophie always seems to get involved in something more series. In Dirty Laundry, her mother who hates Sophie's job but isn't above asking Sophie to help find Uncle Tolly (Apostolis Pappas) the local dry cleaner and husband of a friend when he goes missing. There is action, some romantic tension with the hot and mysterious Jake, and of course tons of comedy with Sophie's lovable and interfering Greek-American family. I'd recommend this series for fans of Stephanie Plum mysteries or for fans of movies like My Big Fat Greek Wedding. The mystery takes center stage, but it's the multiple (sometimes confusing to by Sophie & Readers) story lines, the family & friends who surround Sophie, and Sophie's own humor which makes the books! As soon as I finished Dirty Laundry, I went looking for Working Stiff and Foul Play. I had to hunt much hard for the first book of the series, Sophie Metropolis.
Chocoholics Mysteries -
Chocolate Puppy Puzzle by Joann Carl -
I pick this one up with high hopes. Again, I was sucked in by adorable cover art and some really cute titles...Plus CHOCOLATE how can you go wrong writing about a chocolate shop! You can. I read a couple of this series actually before I gave up, I was just so sure that I would love the characters in time, but I just never was able to connect. I was also hoping for chocolate recipes as I had gotten cookie recipes in the Hannah Swenson books and food recipes in the Goldy books. Carl did include some chocolate tips and trivia, but nothing new for me..:( I'd pass on these books unless your all out of stuff to read and need to feed your addiction whether it be for chocolate or mysteries or books in general.
Hannah Swenson Mysteries -
Cream Puff Murder by Joanne Fluke
Technically I have not yet read this book, but I've read everything in the series up to this point. Cream Puff Murder is the 11th book about Hannah and her friends & family who live in small town Minnesota. Another culinary mystery series...Fluke's recipes are almost exclusively cookies/desserts. Hannah owns a cookie shop and for various reasons gets dragged into murder investigations. While she's a bit unwilling the first couple times, her success and her curiosity make her more bold as the series continues. Fluke, like Davidson, does advance Hannah's story and that of her other secondary characters. My one complain would be in the romance department. At this point in the stories, Hannah's been 'dating'/'seeing' whatever you want to call it, both men in her life for a long while. I don't know about them, but I'd be pretty annoyed by this time if I were them. Maybe in this book it will happen, maybe not...either way I'm looking forward to reading about the latest murder and the cookies involved! This is a great series for the baker in your life....WARNING detrimental to your diet! Every time I've tried her recipes they have come out perfect.
It Happened One Knife by Jeffrey Cohen
Set in NJ, already a plus. Punny titles...another plus. It Happened One Knife is the second book about Elliot, a all-comedy theater owner. The first Some Like It Hot-Buttered, I found while browsing the paperback in my library. It was a cute mystery with an unusual narrator. The mysteries in the two books are different. The first begins with a man found dead in the theater after the movie is over. While searching the place, the police find pirated DVDs and Elliot's projectionist goes missing. The second mystery begins because Elliot gets to meet one of his heroes of comedy and said hero tells him that his former partner murdered his wife and burned the house to hide the crime 50 yrs ago. Lots of snippets of NJ scenery, film trivia, and movie trivia too. I was more impressed with the first and was looking forward to the second, but am finding myself slogging through it a bit. These are definitely worth the read if your a NJ fan or a comedy fan, but if your not...maybe pass on these until you have surplus free time.
That's all for my recently found mysteries....